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Daddy, why did they stand in big long lines? That’s stupid!

Posted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 6:16 pm
by pud
Source: Red Coat and Brown Bess. Museum Restoration Service, Bloomfield, Ontario. 1970. Anthony Darling. p.10.

"Infantry formations during the 18th Century were governed by linear tactics. Personnel were marched to the combat area in columns consisting of two or more files of men, a manoeuvre best suited for mobility and which constituted the soul of military operations. However, once on the battlefield, the troops were deployed into ranks, each facing front with the men standing shoulder to shoulder, to form a line of battle. This formation was in direct contrast to those of the massed Greek spearman of Alexander or the Swiss pike phalanxes, both of which relied solely on the element of shock for success. Long lines of infantrymen allowed for the greatest amount of concentrated and continuous firepower which served more as an enemy demoralizer than as a means to inflict casualties; the bayonet, an instrument of shock, was expected to carry the assault at the final moment of impact."